Covert Persuasion Tactical PowerThursday, March 20, 2008 12:39
What do YOU want them to think?!
At least a dozen times I’ve asked hundreds of people in an audience to look around a room identifying everything that is brown and instruct them to remember what they see because this is a very important experiment.
Then I ask everyone to close their eyes.
Everyone knows where everything brown is because each of their brains have been instructed to focus and find all brown…and they have been told that this is an important task.
“Now, point to something green.”
No one can do it.
Those that point somewhere inevitably fail.
No doubt you may have participated in this fascinating experiment in the past as well.
The Fascinating Human Brain
It’s an amazing thing about the human brain. We can retain an unbelievable amount of information.
But in this case, we can’t remember where *anything* green might be…
We weren’t told to look for it…
Imagine your friend teaches a grade school class and little Billy is acting up in the back. Your friend tells a fellow teacher about the experience.
“The kid is always acting up. He’s probably ‘ADD’ and I wish he was on his way out. He’s driving me nuts.”
“Huh. I guess I’ve never seen it in his behavior. He can be talkative but he never misbehaves in my class and he’s a pretty sharp kid. Sometimes even helpful to the other students.”
Your friend looks at the fellow teacher as if he has lost his marbles.
Your friend will not likely ever see the student in any way other than he has and the other teacher will likely not change his view that the student is a pretty good kid.
Here’s what happens when the second teacher visits the first teacher’s class to observe…
Weeks later, the teachers agree to exchange notes on the student again. They’ve both retained their original opinion.
Today, the second teacher decides to sit in with your friend in his class. He sits at the back of the room and takes careful experimental notes on the young boys behavior noting anything that diverges from sitting and being quiet.
At the end of the day, the student had contributed four answers to questions for the class, spoke out of turn once, helped another student once, stopped an argument another time and laughed ridiculously loud once at a joke another student told.
“Did you see him today? The kid was back at it again. He was smarting off and disrupting the class again.”
“Actually, he was pretty well behaved.”
“You’ve got to be kidding!”
“No. I recorded everything he did today.”
Your friend looked at the record and simply couldn’t believe they were talking about the same child.
Your friend saw what he expected while the actual record showed a very different picture of what really happened.
KEYPOINT: You remember what you expect to see.
And don’t worry, your friend isn’t crazy…. He also looked for everything that was brown and saw what was brown…. and nothing else.
As soon as you have an attitude, opinion or emotional connection to something or someone else, you immediately filter your awareness of that stimulus through those attitudes, opinions and emotions.
It’s how the brain operates. It’s how the brain must operate or it would see something new and have to start from scratch analyzing what “is” and what causes what attitudes, emotions and opinions.
That would be incredibly time consuming and cause the destruction of the human race. (I’ll come back to this.)
Unfortunately as helpful as this “filtering” is in general, it creates a very interesting life for each of us.
FACT ONE: We see what we expect to see.
FACT TWO: We don’t see what we don’t expect see.
FACT THREE: We see what we are told to look for…and not much else.
This week we found out something even more incredible. When a person drinks a drink of alcohol something amazing happens when it comes to people seeing what you want them to see…
FACT FOUR: People who have had just one drink lose their ability to discriminate reality even more profoundly.
They REALLY see what they expect to see. They really feel what they expect to feel. They really see what they are told to see.
Here is the research.
After you read this section, I’ll give you some tips on how to utilize this information in a persuasive context on the internet and in face to face communication.
People who were given a simple visual task while mildly intoxicated were twice as likely to have missed seeing the person in a gorilla suit than were people who were not under the influence of alcohol.
The study, appearing in the current issue of The Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, is the first to show visual errors caused by “inattentional blindness” are more likely to occur under the influence of alcohol. This phenomenon occurs when important, but unexpected, objects appear in the visual field but are not detected when people are focused on another task, according to Seema Clifasefi, a postdoctoral psychology researcher at the University of Washington.
While the research, a pilot study, did not test driving aptitude, the study has strong implications for people operating motor vehicles after consuming alcohol, according to Clifasefi, who is affiliated with the UW’s Addictive Behaviors Research Center.
“Driving requires our full attention. We need to perceive information from a variety of sources when we are driving, but alcohol reduces our ability to multi-task. So we focus on one thing at the expense of everything else,” she said.
“Say you have been at a party and are driving home after having a couple of drinks. You don’t want to be stopped for speeding, so you keep eyeing the speedometer. Our research shows that you will miss other things going on around you, perhaps even a pedestrian trying to cross the street.”
In the study, 46 adults ranging in age from 21 to 35 were brought into a bar-like setting. Half of them were given drinks containing alcohol to bring their blood alcohol level up to 0.04 — half the legal level for being drunk in most states. The other half were given drinks containing no liquor.
After the volunteers had their blood alcohol levels measured by a breath test, they were taken to a computer monitor and asked to watch a 25-second film clip. The clip showed people playing with a ball and the volunteers were told to count the number of times the ball was passed from one person to another. In the middle of the clip a person dressed in a gorilla suit appeared, walked among the players, beat its chest and then walked away.
Results??? (You aren’t going to believe this….)
Afterward, the subjects were asked if they saw the gorilla. Just 18 percent of the drinkers said they noticed the gorilla while 46 percent of the sober subjects indicated they saw the gorilla. The research was based on older research without the involvement of alcohol. The results were just as impressive. People simply don’t see that gorilla. It SEEMS impossible, but what seems ridiculous is EXACTLY how our brain works in reality.
And it’s a bit unnerving when you think about it!
TWENTY FIVE SECONDS! That’s it. And in the middle of that 25 seconds, a gorilla shows up on the screen beating his chest and if you’ve had a drink, you didn’t see it. More than half of those who didn’t have a drink didn’t see the gorilla.
The power of focused attention via suggestion is absolutely shocking.
The applications are far reaching and can be applied to almost any persuasive setting. The covert nature of the behavior is obvious.
When you are writing copy or making a sales presentation it is VERY IMPORTANT to encode your targeted information into your client’s awareness.
If you write for your website, make sure you tell people what to look for early on. ALL THE BROWN!!! Make sure you have not led them into some other world where they are asked to see green.
If you tell them that you have a money-making opportunity and then offer facts to support that. Talk about unrelated things and they will be filtered out making a story that is incomplete, incoherent and entirely forgettable.
“What we’re looking for are ways to get this project done without spending tons of money on waste like x, y, and z. Our competitor isn’t interested in that, and whatever you ultimately decide, those factors can’t be forgotten…”
That client will be listening for x, y and z…and ways to get the project done, so you better do something with those four pieces…because that’s what they are going to be filtering for…and what they will be hearing!
This works in text and face to face communication.
Whatever you direct the person’s mind to is where they will be primed to pay attention to. Very much like a magician.
One worthwhile additional bonus:
If you say something negative about your competitor, your client WILL remember your competitor. It may not be good or bad…but they’ll remember …and if you haven’t put a greater degree of emotion on your own product…they won’t remember yours at all…. NEVER mention a competitor or anything about them, except in the context noted above..
One final suggestion: Write down the facts and keypoints from this article on a piece of paper and keep it on your desk for a week. Just one week. Refer to it everytime you write copy or review your sales materials and presentation strategies.
Many covert persuasion techniques will ever yield the results this one will!
Learn more at COVERT HYPNOSIS.